Western forces shot dead 16 civilians including nine children in southern Kandahar province on Sunday, Afghan officials said, in a rampage that witnesses said was carried out by American soldiers who were laughing and appeared drunk.
One Afghan father who said his children were killed in the shooting spree accused soldiers of later burning the bodies.
Witnesses told Reuters they saw a group of U.S. soldiers arrive at their village in Kandahar's Panjwayi district at around 2 am, enter homes and open fire.
The incident, one of the worst of its kind since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, is likely to deepen the divide between Washington and Kabul.
Bring them home, Mr. President. All of them. The "power vacuum" we'd leave behind cannot be any worse than us killing Afghan kids in their damn beds. It cannot be. Period.
Bring them home. Al-Jazeera has more:
Senior US officials were scrambling to determine what caused the soldier to go on a shooting spree after leaving his base in southern Afghanistan, apparently heavily-armed and carrying night-vision equipment.
Officials confirmed that the soldier was being detained in Kandahar and that the military was treating at least five wounded.
One US official said the soldier, an Army staff sergeant, was believed to have acted alone and that initial reports indicated he returned to the base after the shooting and turned himself in.
General John Allen, the top US commander in Afghanistan, issued a statement pledging a "rapid and thorough investigation" into the shooting spree, and said the soldier will remain in US custody.
The US embassy in Kabul sent out an alert to its citizens in Afghanistan warning that as a result of the shooting "there is a risk of anti-American feelings and protests in coming days".
And they would have every right to. We have no justifiable moral, legal, or national security reason tobe occupying the country anymore. This was butchery. JM Ashby notes that 60% of Americans says the Afghanistan war was not worth it, and that was taken before this awful event.
Bring. Them. Home. There's nothing left for us being there. We need to be out by the end of this year, not next.